Spencer Rattler

Oklahoma, Texas Seek SEC Move in 2025

This is not news at this point, but we wanted to provide a place to discuss the coming changes in college football. Today, Oklahoma and Texas formally made their request to move to the SEC in 2025. There's a lot of legal work to be done, but this move is essentially going to happen. I doubt they would make this formal request without confidence that things will work out. Texas and Oklahoma leaving essentially leaves the Big 12 as a lower conference with just eight teams, and kicks off what is probably the start of the move towards four major 16-team superconferences. Our friend Bill Connelly has more commentary on the subsequent movement here (ESPN+ subscription required).

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9 comments, Last at 29 Jul 2021, 3:25pm

1 Texas destroyed the…

Texas destroyed the Southwestern Conference, looks like it's about to destroy the Big 12, and now has set its sights on an even bigger target.

2 I also think the conference…

I also think the conference Bill describes at the end (some/all of the Big 12 remnants + Cincy, BYU, Memphis and/or Houston) would be a lot of fun, and competitive enough in both football and basketball to hang on as a legitimate power conference (even beyond just officially fulfilling the requirements to remain a P5). I'm just afraid the revenue incentives will lead to a splintering and ultimately 3 or 4 schools will end up locked out of a major conference.

I'm guessing the media rights revenue for the remaining Big 12 teams is going to decrease by 50% or more without UT & OU. So no one like the Pac 12 is going to be interested in a mega merger. And yet, per school, I think that's probably at least twice as much as the value that any of the top AAC schools would add, so adding additional schools would only effectively make the revenue situation even worse for each individual member the zombie Big 12. If my numbers are in the ballpark, I don't think there's any competitive, cultural, or travel cost considerations that can come anywhere close to making up for the amount of money all of these schools stand to lose vs. what they could preserve if any one of them got invited individually to the Pac 12, Big 10 or ACC...

5 I also think the conference…

I also think the conference Bill describes at the end (some/all of the Big 12 remnants + Cincy, BYU, Memphis and/or Houston) would be a lot of fun, and competitive enough in both football and basketball to hang on as a legitimate power conference (even beyond just officially fulfilling the requirements to remain a P5).

Just from a football perspective, I don't even think the Big 12 was a legitimate power conference, so it's hard to agree with you there. I mean, Oklahoma's been the only school consistently worth anything recently, although Texas was strong historically. So you pull those two out and I don't see how adding Cincy/BYU/Memphis/Houston would be any different than, say, The American - a bunch of schools that can put up a year or two of good success, but nothing long-term.

From a media rights there's no chance. Losing OU and UT kills their largest 2 stadia by far. Before, the power 5 conferences all had at least 1 80K+ stadium, with the smallest being the ACC and Clemson at 81K. Losing OU and UT means even if you added all of those schools, the Big 12 would drop to 65K. That means you'd be looking at 2 conferences with 100K+, 1 conference with 90K+, 1 with 80K+... and then the Big 12 at like, 65K. It's totally a 13-year old at the grownups table situation at that point.

Of course with the NIL stuff going on, you could even imagine this finally fracturing the FBS and resulting in two playoffs, which would be so much better. It'd just be fantastic to have the Big 10, ACC, Pac-12 and SEC, with 4 conference champions go to a 4-team playoff. But I kinda doubt that happening.

7 The Big 12 has been a better…

The Big 12 has been a better football conference than either the ACC or Pac-12 over the last decade, and probably since its inception. By the standard of "Oklahoma's been the only school consistently worth anything," the SEC and Big 10 are probably the only two true power conferences. Actually, based on SP+ for the last full season of college football, that might be one way to think about them:

https://twitter.com/ESPN_BillC/status/1205149572374421504

It is true that the Big 12 became too top-heavy from a program size perspective when they lost Nebraska and Texas A&M. I don't know about stadium size as an exact proxy for media interest, but those are two other schools that had 80k+ capacity stadiums at the time of their departure. At that point it was probably inevitable that it would break up.

9 The Big 12 has been a better…

The Big 12 has been a better football conference than either the ACC or Pac-12 over the last decade, and probably since its inception.

I mean, I'd agree - I'm more talking about the trajectory of the conference rather than how it was historically. Over the past 10 years you kept figuring Texas was going to bounce back and they showed flashes of recovery, but it just wasn't there. And Baylor and TCU looked like they were on a general upswing too, but... well, yeah, no. I mean, maybe the gruesome murder of Oklahoma in 2019's CFP is still hanging over my head, who knows, but it just felt like if Oklahoma had a bad year, the conference could be absolutely terrible

 the SEC and Big 10 are probably the only two true power conferences. Actually, based on SP+ for the last full season of college football, that might be one way to think about them:

Eh, the ACC gets a pass because of Clemson (and I'm kinda assuming ND lands there permanently) and you're right, I'm probably being too nice to the Pac-12. But I mean if we're being totally serious, yeah, obviously it's the SEC/Big 10 and "those other guys." I mean, it's kinda what you expect when the SEC/Big 10 are raking in multiple billions of dollars and the ACC and Pac-12 are like "can I haz some, pleez?" I'm actually amazed that it looks like the ACC landed Notre Dame (god, the Big Ten must've really pissed them off) and that the SEC never poached anyone from it.  

Obviously the Pac-12 is a bit of a special case because you really are talking about geography at that point. With the Big 12 falling apart, the Pac 12 becomes the obvious "are you kidding me?" AQ conference.

 

It is true that the Big 12 became too top-heavy from a program size perspective when they lost Nebraska and Texas A&M. I don't know about stadium size as an exact proxy for media interest, but those are two other schools that had 80k+ capacity stadiums at the time of their departure.

Well, stadium size is a really really good proxy for athletic revenue, which in turn directly comes from fan interest and media deals after all. I mean, you can plot average athletic revenue versus stadium size and it's practically a freaking straight line between 50-100k (which you can consider the min/max stadia sizes). So in some sense, maybe I should've put my cutoff at 75K.

 

3 "SEC"

Stretching that definition for sure (again).

4 ACC

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Well shoot, if the Atlantic Coast is going to go all the way to Indiana, certainly the Southeast can extend to Texas.

6 Hey, technically UT-Austin…

In reply to by Aaron Schatz

Hey, technically UT-Austin is in the geographic southeast of the contiguous United States. Not much, mind you, but it is probably 50-100 miles east.